Will teeth whitening cause tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. It is usually mild and doesn’t last very long. If you experience sensitivity after whitening, you can use toothpaste for sensitive teeth to alleviate the discomfort.
Why are Teeth Sensitive after Whitening Treatment?
Teeth whitening treatment uses a bleaching agent to remove surface stains from your teeth. In the process, the whitener can penetrate any exposed dentin. Dentin naturally has pores, but it’s generally protected by the tooth enamel. However, most people have some dentin that is exposed, especially around the gum line. The whitening agent may move through the pores in the dentin and stimulate the nerve tissues inside the tooth, causing increased sensitivity. Most whitening agents are slightly acidic, as well, which can cause minor damage to the enamel, increasing the likelihood of sensitivity.
Most people—around 80 percent—experience some degree of sensitivity after whitening. In most cases it is mild and disappears in a few days. In some people, usually those who have issues with sensitivity to begin with, it can last a few weeks and be more uncomfortable.
What to do for Sensitive Teeth after Whitening
If you’re concerned about sensitivity after or during your teeth whitening treatment, talk to our dentist. Some recommendations to reduce sensitivity might include:
- Take over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen before your appointment
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after whitening
- Rinse your mouth with water after treatment
- Use a desensitizing gel before treatment
- Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth after treatment
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth helps remineralize the enamel and the dentin, plugging the pores to prevent stimulation of the tooth nerves. In addition to brushing with it, apply it directly to the sensitive areas of the teeth and let it sit for a few minutes. This increased exposure can provide more noticeable results. You should also be sure to use a soft toothbrush to avoid damaging your enamel. If you brush too often or too vigorously, especially right after a whitening treatment, you can worsen your sensitivity.
Contact us at the office of Dr. Melisa Christian today to discuss your teeth whitening treatments!